It’d been a while (December, in fact) since I’d gone on a trip. So I randomly decided to go to Chicago on my “weekend,” for two very simple reasons: 1) I was born and raised in IL, and yet I’d only been to Chicago once when I was about 8 or 9 (I don’t count my marathon day of driving when I had an interview up there because I saw nothing other than the building my interview was in); and 2) If all goes as planned, I’m going to go to grad school at U of Chicago, and I thought I should probably check out the campus first.
The day got off to a…. less than auspicious beginning. My flight was scheduled for the hellishly early hour of 6am, so I set my alarm for the even more hellishly early hour of 3:50. Guess who apparently slept through her alarm and just happened to wake by complete chance at 4:45? Yep, me! 4:45 was when I planned on arriving at the airport….not climbing out of bed. It’s amazing what a little adrenaline can do, and I was out of the house in ten minutes and at the airport by 5:11. Because of stupid airport public transit, I didn’t get to the terminal until 5:28. I was then confronted with a much-longer-than-it-should-have-been-at-5:30-in-the-morning security line. I hadn’t yet resigned myself to missing my flight (though I was silently trying to figure out how to talk myself onto standby on the next one without a price increase) and I managed to make it through security and dash onto my plane with minutes to spare. I was the third to last one on the flight and literally within six minutes of sitting down, we were taxi-ing down the runway.
The rest of my day passed without trouble (thank goodness), and here’s a little taste of the major things I did the first day:
I started the day downtown (aka The Loop) and wandered around for a while until I got to Buckingham Fountain in Grant’s Park.
I wandered through Grant Park up through Millenium Park, where I came upon the famed Bean. I’d read about this sculpture and thought it was over-rated until I saw it. There’s just something totally awesome about it that I can’t put my finger on….
After some more meandering around downtown and checking out the huge public library and some of the architecture along the Chicago River, I checked into my hostel (yes, EK, I stayed in a hostel. Don’t look so shocked, it’s totally to be expected from me lol).
It was free admission day to the Art Institute of Chicago, so of course I had to check it out. I was mildly disappointed. They didn’t have anything I hadn’t seen before in some variation. But considering I’ve frequented the Met, the MoMa, the Hermitage, and the Brooklyn Museum of Art, that’s hardly their fault, and it’s certainly worth a visit all the same.
I then walked along the Magnificent Mile before heading to one of my favorite parts of the city: Lincoln Park. The highlight of this park (aside from the view) is the fact that it has an actually sandy beach. If you didn’t know you were in the Midwest, you’d think you were on the coast. Lake Michigan has the wave effect and endless horizons and everything.
I ended the day by eating a horribly unhealthy scoop of Ben & Jerry’s while walking along Navy Pier, which is like the Chicago attempt at Coney Island, though much smaller and less…..odd.